*Some spoilers for the first Agatha Heterodyne novel/some of the graphic novels*
Yes I am a fangirl. Let’s move on, and firstly talk about the look of this lovely book. I don’t mind the cover – I think it’s appropriate and quite pretty – but when I was reading I took the dust jacket off and oh my, I don’t think I can put it back on again. The hardcover itself is beautiful, with gorgeous gold embossing and little swirls and… it’s just wonderful.
So, the story. This covers, I think, volumes 4-6 of the graphic novels (I may be wrong). Agatha has escaped from Castle Wolfenbach and quite literally falls to earth in company with Krosp, the talking cat. She gets taken in by a travelling circus, after a few adventures, and things proceed from there: more adventures, some science, a little bit of romance, and some interesting characters too. Things are, of course, not entirely what they seem in the circus; and even if that were the not the case, odd things are afoot within Europa so Agatha and her friends are confronted with monsters and other unpleasant people as they travel around. And then there’s the castle with the slightly crazy people…
You probably wouldn’t enjoy this novel without having read the first one. If you’ve read the graphic novels, then you know exactly what happens here already. For me, I read the graphic version long enough ago that I’d forgotten many details, so it was still highly enjoyable. Additionally, I think the Foglios are adding more detail in, especially in terms of back story for some of the more minor characters – and for Europa, and the places visited, as well. I am still a word-reader at heart, and much as I love the graphic novels I don’t think I yet have my eye ‘in’ – I’m sure there are details I miss in pictures that I easily grasp in words. So, it works. Actually I think the main indication that this novelisation works is the fact that it makes me keen to go back and read with the pictures, because I do love them.
Another reason I enjoyed this novel is that the Jagermonsters feature. A lot. Which makes me happy. Also, it so passes the Bechdel test. There are women who are warriors, and schemers, and costumers, and mechanics, and while men feature in their discussions they’re not the sole focus. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.